Firstly, a small niggle: I have four best friends and none of them are closer than a three hour drive away right now. Talk about unfair.
Anyway, in their absence I've had a lot of time spare to wander the internet, and one thing that's come to light is this: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-10846716
If you're not into following external links, that's the BBC news article on the proposed mosque near Ground Zero in New York.
Typically, there seems to have been a rather fiery response to this, which is fair enough. The ability to get fired up about something is good, I love and respect passionate people but seriously? I think this might be something of an overreaction. Yes, it's an unusual decision to stick a mosque there, but I think it would be a tribute to the way tolerance has evolved despite 9/11. Even a catastrophic event like that- I was eight years old and it was a country many miles away, but even I can remember being shocked - can't knock the gradual evolution of the world towards religious de-segregation and a diverse planet earth.
Which is why it's such a shame that certain people immediately viewed the mosque as a negative symbol; probably dominance of Islam over New York. Which is bollocks, really. If you're looking for Islamic domination, baby, come to Birmingham :P
(That was a totally inappropriate joke, I'm sorry.)
Another reason I disagree with the protesters is probably the obvious one - conflation of Islam as a religion and Islamic extremism. It's been reiterated time and time again: whilst many terrorists are Muslim, not all Muslims are terrorists. I fail to see the use in going over it again, but clearly the message hasn't quite sunk in.
And yeah, I know the argument has been worded differently. It's not the fact that its a mosque per se, it's the fact that this will upset survivors and family and it's an insensitive decision.
Is it really, though? I get the feeling that many of these critics would be up in arms wherever the mosque was sited; the proximity to Ground Zero might quantify their protests but it doesn't neccessarily describe their source.
Obviously that's a guess. What do I know about American politics, jack all is what.
The bottom line for me is this: it's irrelevant whether or not the decision to build a mosque in such a sensitive area is a right decision, morally. Either way, protesters should be taking steps towards a more peaceful and safer future; and that means greater religious tolerance from all sides. Can I suggest we take one for the team?